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Introducing the Social Innovation Fellowship Pilot Program

The GSB's Center for Social Innovation recently announced the Social Innovation Fellowship Pilot Program which was created to support social entrepreneurs.

I wasn't sure whether this fellowship was intended for current MBA students or for MBA graduates so I visited my colleague Janet Abrams, Director of the Public Management Program to find out:

Rita Winkler: Can you describe what the Social Innovation Fellowship is?

Janet Abrams: The Social Innovation Fellowship is for graduating Stanford MBAs who have a well-defined vision for a new social venture and are ready to dedicate the year after graduation to launching that venture as a nonprofit organization. The GSB's Center for Social Innovation is piloting the Fellowship over the next three years. Beginning in spring 2009, a limited number of second-year students will be selected to receive a stipend for the following year as well as access to the many non-financial resources--information, professional networks, etc.--that the Center can provide.

Rita Winkler: What purpose does this fellowship serve and why is it necessary?

Janet Abrams: Many students come to the GSB with great motivation to make a difference in the world. While at Stanford, some develop specific ideas for how they might apply the knowledge and skills they're gaining here to solving serious social problems.
During their first year after graduation, the Fellowship allows MBAs who are starting a new venture in the nonprofit sphere the freedom to focus all of their energies on securing funding, personnel, partners, and other assets that will be essential for success.

Rita Winkler: Who is eligible? Is there an application process?

Janet Abrams: Second-year Stanford MBA students in good academic standing are eligible, as are teams of two led by a graduating MBA student who's in good academic standing. And yes, there's an application process. Candidates will submit a detailed proposal for their social venture in April. Those whose applications show real promise will be invited to present their ideas to the Fellowship selection committee in May. The Center for Social Innovation will announce the new Fellows in mid-to-late May.

Rita Winkler: What are the award criteria? How will you decide who should receive a fellowship?

Janet Abrams: The Fellowship selection committee is made up of GSB faculty and staff, experienced social entrepreneurs, and philanthropy professionals. This group will consider each candidate's degree of commitment to social entrepreneurship, the thoroughness of his or her plan, and the likelihood the envisioned nonprofit will make a significant impact.

Rita Winkler: Thank you Janet!

Learn more about the Social Innovation Fellowship

Learn more about the Center for Social Innovation and the Center's Public Management Program